Hasenhuttl praises attitude of struggling Southampton striker


Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has heaped praise on striker Che Adams and insists he is an "important" part of the squad.

Hasenhuttl signed Adams in a £15million deal from Birmingham last summer, with Saints handing him a five-year deal after some impressive displays in the Championship.

Several Premier League clubs were understood to be keen but he felt Southampton would offer the best chance to further his career.

After netting 22 league goals in 2018-19 for the Blues, he was expected to be an integral part of the set up at St Mary’s.

However, his performances early on in 2019-20 left a lot to be desired and he is yet to open his account in the top flight.

The 23-year-old has been restricted to just eight starts, featuring a further 13 times from the bench.

Due to his lack of game-time, Leeds were hoping to sign the striker on loan in January and it appeared Adams was open to the switch.

But Hasenhuttl pleaded with the board to reject Leeds’ advances and subsequently Adams remained on the south coast when the window shut last month.

With Southampton’s status in the Premier League looking secure, Hasenhuttl has hinted at rotating for the remainder of the term and Adams could get some extra minutes under his belt.

He came off the bench to assist Stuart Armstrong in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Aston Villa and might be in the frame to start at West Ham on Saturday.

Danny Ings’ form has also played a big role in Adams’ omission from the starting XI, as he’s scored 15 goals, while Shane Long has been preferred as his strike partner.

Hasenhuttl admits Adams has been frustrated at times but feels the summer arrival has acted with true professionalism when called on.

“He is a guy who is one day a little bit frustrated when he sees he doesn’t play but then when the game comes, he shows up immediately and this is fantastic,” Hasenhuttl said.

“I know how important he is. The frustration he has because he’s not starting is understandable.”